Article thumbnail

The Fallacy of Neutrality: Diary of an Election Observer

By Jeanne M. Woods

Abstract

Neutrality is one of many conceptual fictions of liberal discourse. A legal fiction is contrived by the law to facilitate adjudication of issues. Such fictions may serve as symbols, to make abstract concepts tangible or, they may be myths designed to promote some normative principle or goal. The problem arises when these fictions cease to be recognized as inventions, or as presumptions about reality, and are believed to have an independent existence in reality. Then, they purport to provide us with an objective and impersonal criterion, but they do not. According to the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, a fiction is a pseudo-concept available for a variety of ideological uses .... Hence, when we encounter its use in practical life, it is always necessary to ask what actual project or purpose is being concealed by its use. For example, Professor Derrick Bell argues that racially neutral anti-discrimination law disguises continued bias, and creates a tendency for self-blame because of the difficulty of identifying more subtle forms of oppression. Similarly, in employment law, the enforcement of a neutral right to contract ignores the imbalance of power between worker and employer

Topics: Neutrality, Elections, Credibility, Legal fictions, South Africa, Race and law, African National Congress, Comparative and Foreign Law, Election Law, Law and Politics, Law and Race
Publisher: University of Michigan Law School Scholarship Repository
Year: 1997
OAI identifier: oai:repository.law.umich.edu:mjil-1472
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • https://repository.law.umich.e... (external link)
  • https://repository.law.umich.e... (external link)
  • Suggested articles


    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.